From Wikipedia the free encyclopedia submitted by Billy Hathorn


Harmon Drew, Jr.

Richard Harmon Drew, Jr. (born November 11, 1946), is a Louisiana judge, legal lecturer, and rhythm-and-blues musician. He is serving a 10-year elected term on his state's Second Circuit Court of Appeal, based in Shreveport. Drew is a native of Minden, the seat of Webster Parish in north Louisiana, where he and his wife, the former Jean Talley, reside in the Drew ancestral home on Broadway Street. The home was built by the late Minden businessman Will Life (1887-1972) and was acquired by Drew's grandfather, Harmon Caldwell Drew (died 1950) in about the year 1915. Drew's father, grandfather, great-grandfather, and great-great-grandfather all held judgeships in Webster or surrounding parishes. The Drew family actually settled Webster Parish prior to the establishment of either the parish or the city Minden. Since 1962, when he was a junior in high school, Drew has performed with his own successful band, now called the "Harmon Drew Super Group".


Early years and education

Drew was born to Richard Harmon Drew, Sr. (1917-1995), and the former Margaret Taylor Elam (1919-1977), a native of Mansfield in De Soto Parish who grew up in Shreveport and Baton Rouge. Drew's parents were married in an Episcopal Church in Baton Rouge on Pearl Harbor Day 1940, exactly a year before the attack on the United States. Drew and his two sisters, Elizabeth Weaver and Caldwell Colvin, were reared, like their mother, as Episcopalians. The senior Drew, however, retained Presbyterian affiliation. Harmon and Jean Drew are members of St. John's Episcopal Church near their home though Jean was reared as a Methodist.

Drew graduated from Minden High School in 1964. He was an elected class officer for three years and the Student Council president in his senior year. He went to Boys' State leadership school in Baton Rouge in 1963 and was named the outstanding delegate from Webster, Bienville, and Claiborne parishes. He took accelerated classes in high school and was a member of the golf team.

Drew received his bachelor of arts degree in political science from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge in 1968. He also attended LSU law school and obtained his Juris Doctor in 1971.

The Drews married at the Talley home in Bogalusa, the seat of Washington Parish in southeastern Louisiana, on June 28, 1970. Harmon Drew met Jean Talley, who graduated from Bogalusa High School in 1963, at LSU law school. Not only is Jean also a lawyer, but so were her father, grandfather, and an aunt. Her father, Bascom D. Talley, Jr. (1915-1971), was president of the Louisiana Bar Association during the 1960s.

The Drews work as a team

Like Harmon Drew, Sr., Harmon and Jean Drew are Democrats. In 1990, Mrs. Drew ran for the same judgeship that her husband now holds, but she was defeated (36,217, votes or 43 percent) by fellow Democrat Henry N. Brown, Jr., (48,935, or 57 percent). Of the nine parishes in the district, Jean Drew won in Webster, Winn (Winnfield), and Lincoln (Ruston) parishes and lost Caldwell (Columbia) and Jackson (Jonesboro) parishes by fewer than one hundred votes each.

Jean Drew is now her husband's law clerk as well as a legal researcher and coauthor. Harmon calls her his "soul mate." From 1972-1988, the Drews practiced law together in Minden.

Drew was also an assistant district attorney for the Bossier (pronounced BO ZURE) -- Webster district, Minden office, from 1974-1983. From 1983-1984, he was designated first assistant district attorney. He served under District Attorneys Charles A. "Corky" Marvin of Minden (1929-2003) and Henry Brown, the same Henry Brown who had defeated Mrs. Drew in the judicial contest of 1990.

Harmon and Jean Drew also teach the law of search and seizure and the criminal code to some three thousand peace officers each year. They publish two books annually to explain amendments passed by the Louisiana legislature. Their popular True Blue Drew Book explains criminal law amendments in simple terms. Several thousand copies are sold all over the state.

The Drews have two children. Richard Harmon Drew, III (born 1974), is a Ph.D. candidate in political science at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Known as "Richard," he has entered LSU law school; so there may yet be a sixth consecutive generation of Drews in the practice of law. Georgia Drew (born 1979) is a graduate of Louisiana Tech University in Ruston. She also holdas a master of science degree in hospitality and tourism from the University of New Orleans and is employed by the Marriott Hotel in New Orleans.

Three judgeships

In 1984, Drew's father stepped down from a second nonconsecutive term as the Minden municipal court judge, a position created in 1928 and originally held by the senior Drew's uncle.

Drew, Jr., was elected to a six-year term to succeed his father. He defeated a Minden friend and legal colleague, Democrat Paul E. Kitchens (born 1945), for the position. Kitchens' brother, Democrat Graydon K. Kitchens, Jr., (born 1935) had held the city judge's post prior to the tenure of Drew, Sr.

Harmon Drew, Sr., who had preceded his son on the city court, returned for an interim appointment to the position after Drew, Jr., stepped down in 1988. Drew, Sr., was selected by the Louisiana Supreme Court to fill the seat, pending the election of Democrat John C. Campbell.

Drew left the city bench when he was elected in 1988 as the Minden judge of the 26th Judicial District Court, which serves Bossier and Webster parishes. He succeeded the retiring Democrat Cecil Lowe. Drew was reelected to this court without opposition in 1990 and in 1996. He said that it is customary for most Louisiana judges to be unopposed.

In 1998, Drew, while still on the district court, was elected without opposition to his current appeal judgeship. His comes up for reelection in 2008. Drew holds the highest judgeship ever obtained by election for a Webster Parish attorney because no lawyer in the parish has yet to be elected to the Louisiana Supreme Court, the state's highest tribunal.

The appeal court handles cases from twenty northern Louisiana parishes; the members sit in three-judge panels, much as their federal counterparts.

Drew's affiliations include the American, Louisiana, and Shreveport bar associations. He is a speaker on criminal law, ethics, and professionalism. He co-founded and is a former owner of Nuts & Bolts Fun judicial seminars.

The music continues

Drew has been a musician for a decade longer than he has been a lawyer. His 12-piece band injects a Louisiana flavor into early 1960s rhythm and blues. In 2001, readers of Shreveport Bossier magazine selected the group as their favorite North Louisiana entertainers. That same year, the band took 240 fans on a 7-day Caribbean cruise. The Harmon Drew Super Group originally performed in northwest Louisiana, but over the years the group has entertained in locations as far away as Montgomery, Alabama; Destin, Florida; Oklahoma City; San Angelo, Texas, and Elvis Presley's birthplace of Tupelo, Mississippi.

On April 21, 2002, the Super Group was inducted into the Louisiana Hall of Fame.

In a 2001 interview, Drew told entertainment writer Margaret Martin of the Shreveport Times that he began his musical career by "tinkering with the keyboard by ear [because] I never really learned to read music. I'm not talented, but I'm diligent." Martin noticed that Drew keeps a keyboard on his desk. The walls of his office are filled with law books and portraits of his grandfather and great-grandfather, both of whom once held the judgeship that he occupies.

Drew called his original band, the "Monks", and that group played mostly Bob Dylan tunes. After two years, the "Monks" moniker was dropped in favor of "Ivy Peebles Medicine Show Band." Drew coined that name for the late justice of the peace, then living in Mississippi, who performed the marriage of the band's one-time drummer, Max Kees. The early gigs were mostly for Minden High School after-football game dances. They often were paid $25, which they were pleased to receive in the middle 1960s. The band continued through college and law school.

Martin summed up Drew this way: "Music is in his blood, but he is serious about his law career and proud that he is a fifth generation lawyer/judge."









Preceded by
R. Harmon Drew, Sr.
Minden, Louisiana, City Judge

Harmon Drew, Jr.

Succeeded by
R. Harmon Drew, Sr. interim
Preceded by
Cecil Lowe
Louisiana 26th Judicial District Judge (Bossier and Webster parishes)

Harmon Drew, Jr.

Succeeded by
John M. Robinson

Billy  Hathorn